Over the summer, our very own president, Charles Steger, headed the BCS Presidential Oversight Committee. This committee was established to explore the possibility of a playoff system in college football, something many coaches, players, analysts and fans have been clamoring for.
The committee agreed on a proposal for the 2014-2025 seasons. During these seasons, the top four teams, selected by a committee, will be seeded and placed in semifinal games played on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day. The winners of these games will then play the championship game on the second Monday in January.
There will be a total of six bowl games at six different bowl sites. These sites will be on a rotating schedule between seasons. The committee will also choose who plays in the four bowl games not part of the playoffs, and just like the Super Bowl, the highest bidding city will host the championship game.
Ever since 2009, when there were five undefeated teams at the end of the season, I have been a proponent for a college football playoff system. This is because, in that season, even though there were five undefeated teams, Boise State, Cincinnati, and TCU were not even considered for the National Championship Game because they were from small conferences. Instead, Texas and Alabama played each other.
These small-market teams should be allowed to play large conference teams in a win-and-move-on or lose-and-go-home style game to determine who the real champions of college football are.
The committee decided the major conference champions would be guaranteed a spot in one of the six bowl games — the champions from the ACC, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-12, and SEC will receive automatic bids to bowl games. These bids are not necessarily to the two semi-final games, but those conference champions will still have an easier time than small-market teams in making it into bowl season.
Even though the conference champions will get automatic bids, there will still be six open slots to be filled by small market teams, or even non-conference champions, which means these dark-horse teams can play in the Sugar Bowl instead of the Pacific Life Holiday Bowl and receive more acclaim and fans.
As happy as I am about the BCS implementing this playoff system, there is still one major concern every college football fan should have: Who is going to be on this committee?
The members of this committee will be the most powerful people in college football. The committee should not be full of retired coaches, or athletic directors, or conference commissioners. Sure, people in those positions know a lot about college football, but they have inherent biases.
If a Big Ten team was seeded in place of a smaller conference team, and the Big-Ten conference commissioner is on the committee, I would become very wary of the integrity of this committee. These committee members can say they do not have bias or loyalty toward teams they represent, but I would never be able to ease that creeping suspicion from my mind.
Instead, the committee members should be experts on college football who have no affiliation or ties to any particular college, willing spend hundreds of hours watching tape, and will not be influenced by the media. This will ensure only the best four teams will play each other for the title. Only then can we as fans be sure not only are the best teams playing, but the most exciting games to watch are going to be on during the playoffs.
As I stated before, I am and will continue to be a proponent of a playoff system in college football, but only if it’s done right. In order to do it right, the committee members will need to be selected with the utmost care. Until we know who will be on that committee, we as college football fans should not be satisfied with the system.